Hello, I am new to the boards but I do know how taking things out can help people with difficult decisions.
To make a long story short I had a leaky disc about 10-11 years ago that caused severe pain as well as back pain. I would walk down the hall and literally collapse from pain. My ortho and nero said I had DDD with bulging discs in c5-c6 and I think S1-L1 - need to check. My nero was retiring but told me when the pain got to where I could no longer stand it call and he would operate, all other options had been no good. Two weeks later it was done. Excruciating pain was gone but I still had "some" pain and I eventually went back to work. Oh and yea, my nero retired. Back pain came back and I saw a new nero who looked at MRIs/CTs and agreed I should be in pain based on what was on the images. However h e looked at me funny then left the room and came back and asked me which leg was hurting. He said he did not doubt me, but that the other leg should be hurting based on the MRI. He said to try everything as he would not due surgery until I could no longer bear it as well and at that point it would probably be exploratory and he would simply fix what he found if he could. NOPE!
After 16 GPs,PTs and NPs with some telling me everyone has pain, I just have to learn to live with it (I was told by a friend of mine in the waiting room, that he heard me loose my religion with that doc).I finally went to a GP who looked at everything and she said there was literally nothing she could do, I almost croaked then and there. But she said all I can is send you to the Pain Center and let them see what they can do for you. What she meant was she was not going to send me to physical therapy again since it was obvious it has never worked.
Bottom line the PM came in and said they were not treating my pain right and he thought it was facet joints. So I started every 3 months alternating shots in my back and my neck. They were a GOD SEND! I seldom have back pain, but since I am on pain meds and muscle relaxers probably do, just can't tell. However my neck has always given me fits.
I am basically a computer programmer and have been for over 20 years at my present job (where it all began as well). But recently the pain is getting to be unbearable. I can no longer work at someone elses computer as my neck will start to spasm in literally 2 minutes. Which kills me as I normally have to sit with people to train them. I can't look up without severe pain or starting my neck to spasm and I can't carry anything heavier than a milk jug and opening doors is a major challenge if they are heavy as I have lost strength and grip in my arms. I have carpal tunnel and have always had pain in the left side of my neck and now is going down my arm and some stinging in my fingers. Oh, and I can't forget the headaches and difficulty concentrating. Even though I am highly regarded at work and get constant company awards almost monthly, I am starting to show signs of not being able to complete assignments in a timely manner as I am slowing down due to my pain. Which is really sad because I can still out perform most of my co-workers. probably because I have always refused to let this pain be a hindrance to my working.
Dang..Maybe I type too much?
Anyway a friend of mine called me the other night and wanted to do some stuff and as usual told him maybe the next night as I really was hurting that night, which BTW him and his wife are very supportive. He knocked some since into me as I told him I had already called my PM and setup an apointment for next week and that the nurse told me the doc may want me to have an MRI as the last one she was showing was 1999! Yep.. That long ago. He quickly snapped and asked me why I was going through having shots every 3 months, risking further damage by working and being fired or let go and end up with no insurance when I have STD/LTD and I have purchased additional which will pay my salary and provide insurance and money for my meds until I am 65 if need be.
That was already nagging at me, but I have never wanted to be considered someone who was just on disability. We know what people who have never had back pain can say about that.
So after this long novel the real point is that when I see my PM or rather the NP next week, I am not going to mix words. The pain I have been having is getting worse it's not going to get better and I will no doubt start missing work due it in the coming weeks. That is a fact.
Oh dang.. Forgot to mention I have also recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea about two years ago. I use a CPAP machine which shows proper usage but I still wake up dead tired and it's getting worse. The other day on the way to work I almost ran a red light and only my anti-lock brakes and no traffic prevented someone from getting hurt. I am tired all of the time and am on provigil to try and help with concentration and staying awake. Obviously that is not going very well. I have insomnia and generally lay in bed and can't sleep. Sometimes I will be thinking about the things I am behind on at work and how I am going try and "talk" my way out of it.
Every time I get my pain shots my DM talks to me and asks me if we are still doing the right thing. I am not giving up, but I think it is time I come clean and tell him how I feel. I am 46 years old and have been doing this for 10 years, I am getting worse and there is no way I can maintain this till I am 65.. No way. This PM is the best in town, and has several medical awards. He will defiantly listen I have no problems there.
Oh.. well.. I can talk about my restricted esophagus, hiatal hernia, GERD and acid reflux and difficulty swallowing later. I go next month to talk to my MD about my esophagus. He took an xray during my last biopsy and dilation. Not sure why, but I am curious to find out if he perhaps suspects an issue with my neck. Post procedure notes don't mention it...